2009 Kansas City Chiefs: Season Preview
By Wilson of Predictem.com
2008 Record: 2-14 (4th in AFC West) ATS 8-8, O/U 8-7
Stadium: Arrowhead Stadium
Head Coach: Todd Haley
Superbowl Odds: +7500
Training Camp Site: University of Wisconsin, River Falls
Training Camp Dates: August 1 – 21
Intro: The Chiefs have a new head coach, and a new GM entering the 2009 season. GM Scott Pioli has replaced Carl Peterson and is hoping to help bring the Chiefs out of the cellar. Head coach Todd Haley is in his first time as the leader of a team, but he feels confident that he can guide the chiefs in the right direction.
Kansas City has only won six games in the last two years, not an easy situation for Haley to walk into and clean up but he has made some positive moves already. To start, Haley and his staff decided to go after a younger less costly group by releasing or trading pricey veterans. Also, the Chiefs were able to pick up QB Matt Cassell from New England for a second-round pick. Now it will be interesting to see how everything comes together or not, in Kansas City.
Whos New? LB Monty Beisel, QB Matt Cassell. WR Terrance Copper, TE Tony Curtis, WR Bobby Engram, OG Mike Goff, LB Zach Thomas, LB Mike Vrabel, LB Corey Mays.
Key Draft Pick: DE Tyson Jackson (LSU)
Whos gone? QB Damon Huard, TE Tony Gonzalez, LB Donnie Edwards, OG Adrian Jones, CB Patrick Surtain, LB Pat Thomas
Offense: Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is still onboard but it may be a team effort between him and Coach Haley, who is a former OC as well. The addition of Matt Cassell will certainly change how the offense operates.
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QB Matt Cassell earned his wings so-to-speak last season when he filled in for the injured Tom Brady in New England. Cassell proved that he can lead on the field and also put some respectable numbers. Cassell tossed 21 TDs and tallied up 3,693 yards and 11 interceptions. The former USC talent carries a 64, 230 pound frame which gives him great size in the pocket. However, Cassell tends to lack awareness of defensive pressure and suffers for it by giving up too many sacks and crushing hits.
RB Larry Johnson will be the primary option out of the backfield even though he has openly admitted he wants out of KC. Johnsons role will likely decrease in the offensive scheme. Jamaal Charles will provide a different look with his speed and receiving skills. The Chiefs like his utility-player abilities and power.
WR Dwayne Bowe leads the receiving crew in just his second season as a Pro. He is incredibly fast and gets off the line quickly. In two years he has 156 catches for 2,017 yards. Kansas City also brought in veteran WR Bobby Engram who will act as a mentor for the younger guys. Engram is an excellent route runner and will be a great slot option for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs O-line is a major concern as they have struggled in the last couple of years. Brian Waters returns as the leader and veteran lineman. Waters is a four-time Pro Bowler who hopes to motivate his co-workers.
Defense: The Chiefs finished 31st last season in team defense, so they have replaced defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham with Clancy Pendergast. Pendergast will run a hybrid 3-4 defense close to the type he ran at Arizona. It will take a while for the D to learn the system. The urgent concern will be the improvement of the weak and feeble pass rush.
The defensive line will seriously need to make a statement this season as they only recorded 10 sacks last season, which was good enough for a record fewest sacks in NFL history! Ouch. But this season may be different if they can get things going with rookie Tyson Jackson along with second year DE Glenn Dorsey.
LB Derrick Johnson will move to the middle and probably be the voice and leader of the defense. He has great range and can sniff out plays well. The Chiefs added veteran Zach Thomas, a 14-year Pro who will bring great tackling and heads up play to the middle.
Kansas City also welcomes back CBs Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr who both played extremely well as rookies last season. SS Bernard Pollard is also in the line up as he led the team last year with 98 tackles. Pollard is a force and gets to the holes quickly, but he does lack speed in man coverage.
Special Teams: The Chiefs return game is a definite question mark at this point but it may be solved if rookie, sixth round draft pick Quinten Lawrence (McNeese State) can prove effective in the role.
The bright spot on the Chiefs special teams is P Dustin Colquitt who has a strong leg and was able to bail out the offense last year by booting the ball deep after they fizzled on drives.
2009 Kansas City Chiefs Schedule:
September 13 at Baltimore Ravens
September 20 Oakland Raiders
September 27 at Philadelphia Eagles
October 4 New York Giants
October 11 Dallas Cowboys
October 18 at Washington Redskins
October 25 San Diego Chargers
November 1 BYE
November 8 at Jacksonville Jaguars
November 15 at Oakland Raiders
November 22 Pittsburgh Steelers
November 29 at San Diego Chargers
December 6 Denver Colorado
December 13 Buffalo Bills
December 20 Cleveland Browns
December 27 at Cincinnati Bengals
January 3 at Denver Broncos
Betting Odds and Projections:
Kansas City has really no where to go but straight up as they only need to win three games to improve on last years record. New head coach, Todd Haley has his work cut out for him but he appears to have the support, energy, and patience from team owner Clark Hunt and GM Scott Pioli. It will likely take a couple of seasons to see significant change but it will happen if the pieces continue to fall together. KC will have to show improvement everywhere on the field if they plan on winning more than two games again this season.
Las Vegas casinos and the offshore sportsbooks have the Chiefs at +7500 to win superbowl XLIV. The Chiefs will need a ton of help and luck to even think about a playoff appearance much less win the BIG GAME. Luck to ya.